How are you?
When I first became mentally unwell I was on maternity leave from my job as a community mental health nurse for the NHS. Pretty much overnight I went from a mental health nurse to a mental health patient. I was referred to my local mental health services and this began my own personal journey through illness and recovery.
On this mental health awareness week I’d like to remind you that mental illness can happen to anyone. We all know this in theory, but sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded of this. The stats tell us 1 in 4 of us will experience a diagnosable mental illness at some point in our lives.
That’s our partners, our children, our parents, our siblings, our work colleagues, our neighbours, our friends. Anyone. I would also argue 1 in 4 is an underestimation.
Talking about mental and emotional health should form the foundations of our relationships. And its really quite straightforward to do!
‘How do you feel in yourself?’
‘How are you managing emotionally?’
‘How are you coping at the moment?’
‘How are you feeling?’
‘Are you okay?’
Or simply HOW ARE YOU?
These questions need to be ordinary everyday chats we have with our family and friends.
This is even more crucial in the pandemic we find ourselves in. Parents are juggling full time work and homeschooling. Key workers are going about their everyday jobs with a heightened sense of threat. Health care workers are working in environments they never expected to - seeing first hand the devastating effects of COVID-19 on peoples physical and mental health. All our lives have changed.
We all need to hear ‘how are you?’
‘How are you?’